Shaniwar wada came to life when historian Ninad Bedekar took visitors down the memory lane at a heritage walk organised by the organisation Aranyavaak.
The walk was organised as part of Durgasohala Ninad series under which heritage walks are organised with historian Ninad Bedekar in and around Pune.
Shaniwarwada is the pride of Pune. The wada has witnessed many important historic events.
During the two-hour walk on Sunday, Bedekar highlighted interesting features about the wada and Maratha history. Constructed by Peshwe Bajirao I in 1732, the wada bears testimony to the rise and fall of the Maratha Empire.
“It used to be the centre of Indian politics. After the death of the Mughal emperor, Aurangzeb there was no able Mughal to take over the throne. The Marathas became kingmakers because of their immense military power. The strategies to keep Delhi in control used to be planned in Shaniwarwada,” said Bedekar.
Bajirao lived in the wada along with 50 relatives. The structure was well planned with five doors in various sides. The Peshwas constructed the Katraj lake and brought the water to the wada through underground ducts. A well can still be seen in the wada.
“Many water sources were developed by the Peshwas for Pune,” said Bedekar. He explained in detail the interiors of the wada, which included Mastani Mahal, Arse Mahal, Chiman Baug and the court of the Peshwa. It fell prey to fire more than once. The British took over the wada in 1817 and used it to house mentally-ill patients and prisoners.
However, some English generals who visited the wada during the Peshwa’s reign were awestruck by the grandeur of the Maratha rulers and have penned their observations about Bajirao I and Shaniwarwada, said Bedekar.
He showed the remains of a painting of Ganpati at the entrance of the wada, which was considered auspicious by the Peshwas. He lamented that people merely come to rest or take a stroll in the wada, which is the pride of Pune. The next heritage walk will be held on December 4. Contact on 25450517.